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Caltrans worker killed by suspected drunk driver on 10 Freeway

April 5, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
A suspected drunk driver hit and killed a Caltrans contract worker on a freeway in Baldwin Park Wednesday night. Authorities say the victim is the son of a TV actor and Hall of Fame motorcycle racer.

The crash happened around 11:45 p.m. on the westbound 10 Freeway at Francisquito Avenue. The victim, 21-year-old Connor Penhall of Corona, was a subcontractor for Caltrans. He worked for Cut & Core Construction.

Authorities said Penhall was doing work on the freeway when 37-year-old Tatsuhiko Sakamoto drove through construction barricades, hitting and killing Penhall instantly.

Officials said Sakamoto tried to take off in his Toyota RAV4 after the crash, but authorities were able to take him into custody. Sakamoto was booked on suspicion of driving under the influence and vehicular manslaughter.

Police say Sakamoto is from Arcadia, but officials say he only had a Hawaii driver's license with a Honolulu address.

Connor Penhall raced motorcycles like his father, actor Bruce Penhall, who had a role in the TV series "CHiPs." Police say Bruce Penhall came to the scene to identify his son's body.

Sakamoto is being held on $200,000 bail. His first court appearance is scheduled for Monday.

Westbound lanes of the freeway from Francisquito Avenue to Puente Avenue were closed for several hours during the investigation.


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